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Seveneves-Neal Stephenson
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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 12:56 pm    Post subject: Seveneves-Neal Stephenson Reply with quote

The Moon is destroyed by a mysterious "agent". And that in just the first sentence of the book. I finished earlier this week really enjoyed it. It screams for a sequel but none appear to be in the works.

*grumble*
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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2015 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stephenson is a must read for me. I'll have to check it out.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
Stephenson is a must read for me. I'll have to check it out.


Have you read Snow Crash? OMG!!! Also: "ReamDe" is great.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iQuestor wrote:
Have you read Snow Crash? OMG!!!

Quote:
The Deliverator never pulled that gun in anger, or in fear. He pulled it once in Gila Highlands. Some punks in Gila Highlands, a fancy Burbclave, wanted themselves a delivery, and they didn't want to pay for it. Thought they would impress the Deliverator with a baseball bat. The Deliverator took out his gun, centered its laser doohickey on that poised Louisville Slugger, fired it. The recoil was immense, as though the weapon had blown up in his hand. The middle third of the baseball bat turned into a column of burning sawdust accelerating in all directions like a bursting star. Punk ended up holding this bat handle with milky smoke pouring out the end. Stupid look on his face. Didn't get nothing but trouble from the Deliverator.

Hell yeah.

SnowCrash.
Interface.
Zodiac.
The Diamond Age.
Cryptonomicon.
The Baroque series.
Anathem.

The only un-awesome one in the bunch was Anathem.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Snow Crash was great. I couldn't get through Diamond Age. I haven't tried any others. I need to.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also: Lexicon by Max Berry. It is very awesome!!

edit: OK So I just ordered Seveneves... Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I also only read Snow Crash (and loved it).

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
Yeah, I also only read Snow Crash (and loved it).

IMHO then you should next read Interface: Neal Stephenson's underappreciated masterpiece.

Quote:
"In the 1700s, politics was all about ideas. But Jefferson came up with all the good ideas. In the 1800s, it was all about character. But no one will ever have as much character as Lincoln and Lee. For much of the 1900s it was about charisma. But we no longer trust charisma because Hitler used it to kill Jews and JFK used it to get laid and send us to Vietnam." ...

"So what's it about now?" Aaron said.

"Scrutiny. We are in the Age of Scrutiny. A public figure must withstand the scrutiny of the media," Ogle said. "The President is the ultimate public figure and must stand up under the ultimate scrutiny; he is like a man stretched out on a rack in the public square in some medieval shithole of a town, undergoing the rigors of the Inquisition. Like the medieval trial by ordeal, the Age of Scrutiny sneers at rational inquiry and debate, and presumes that mere oaths and protestations are deceptions and lies. The only way to discover the real truth is by the rite of the ordeal, which exposes the subject to such inhuman strain that any defect in his character will cause him to crack wide open, like a flawed diamond. It is a mystical procedure that skirts rationality, which is seen as the work of the Devil, instead drawing down a higher, ineffable power. Like the Roman haruspex who foretold the outcome of a battle, not by analyzing the strengths of the opposing forces, but by groping through the steaming guts of a slaughtered ram, we seek to establish a candidates fitness for office by pinning him under the lights of a television studio and constructing the use of eye contact, monitoring his gesticulations-- whether his hands are held open or closed, toward or away from the camera, spread open forthcomingly or clenched like grasping claws."
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"In the 1700s, politics was all about ideas. But Jefferson came up with all the good ideas. In the 1800s, it was all about character. But no one will ever have as much character as Lincoln and Lee. For much of the 1900s it was about charisma. But we no longer trust charisma because Hitler used it to kill Jews and JFK used it to get laid and send us to Vietnam." ...

"So what's it about now?" Aaron said.

"Scrutiny. We are in the Age of Scrutiny. A public figure must withstand the scrutiny of the media," Ogle said. "The President is the ultimate public figure and must stand up under the ultimate scrutiny; he is like a man stretched out on a rack in the public square in some medieval shithole of a town, undergoing the rigors of the Inquisition. Like the medieval trial by ordeal, the Age of Scrutiny sneers at rational inquiry and debate, and presumes that mere oaths and protestations are deceptions and lies. The only way to discover the real truth is by the rite of the ordeal, which exposes the subject to such inhuman strain that any defect in his character will cause him to crack wide open, like a flawed diamond. It is a mystical procedure that skirts rationality, which is seen as the work of the Devil, instead drawing down a higher, ineffable power. Like the Roman haruspex who foretold the outcome of a battle, not by analyzing the strengths of the opposing forces, but by groping through the steaming guts of a slaughtered ram, we seek to establish a candidates fitness for office by pinning him under the lights of a television studio and constructing the use of eye contact, monitoring his gesticulations-- whether his hands are held open or closed, toward or away from the camera, spread open forthcomingly or clenched like grasping claws."


Not very promising. Sounds like a lot of anti-American BS, historical jingoism, and hyperbole posing as cultural insights. There is plenty of rational criticism of presidents today. But there's also a lot of obfuscation of these critiques, in an effort to make them seem groundless and rooted in things like racism or greed (rather than face the arguments themselves). Trying to make the world's most powerful man look like a victim for a job he chose to do--and the people who are scrutinizing him as a rationally handicapped 'inquisition'--is definitely not my taste ... though I realize others here will probably see it differently.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do–back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love Anathem. It has prompted more than 5 years of non-fiction reading for me.

Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:

IMHO then you should next read Interface: Neal Stephenson's underappreciated masterpiece.


Thanks, will add it to my list.

--A
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SerScot wrote:
I love Anathem. It has prompted more than 5 years of non-fiction reading for me.

Speaketh on. I only thought it was 'un-awesome' (which is not 'bad') because it lacked the usual NS humor. But I only read it the one time - and it is the kind of book that can be tough on the first try. I am open to hear about what I might have underappreciated.

Avatar wrote:
Thanks, will add it to my list.

As long as you save Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle for the finale. You don't want to peak to early.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
wayfriend wrote:

IMHO then you should next read Interface: Neal Stephenson's underappreciated masterpiece.


Thanks, will add it to my list.

--A


ditto, looks good.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wayfriend,

I loved the characters debating about pure-materialism versus Mathamatical Platonism. I'd never realized this was a matter for debate before
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:

Hell yeah.

SnowCrash.
Interface.
Zodiac.
The Diamond Age.
Cryptonomicon.
The Baroque series.
Anathem.

The only un-awesome one in the bunch was Anathem.


Diamond Age I didn't like so much...just drab, even though the concept didn't seem like it would be...
And I have a love/hate with both Crypto and Anathem---have some great things, some anti-great things.
Still---he's one I will always read.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SerScot wrote:
Wayfriend,

I loved the characters debating about pure-materialism versus Mathamatical Platonism. I'd never realized this was a matter for debate before
Now that sounds like my kind of reading! I'll definitely check that out.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do–back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra,

Within the context of monestaries for scientists who are cloistered because the "secular" world sees those interested in science and meta-physics as too dangerous to be allowed to roam freely within the seculum.

I re-read Anathem regularly.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
SerScot wrote:
Wayfriend,

I loved the characters debating about pure-materialism versus Mathamatical Platonism. I'd never realized this was a matter for debate before
Now that sounds like my kind of reading! I'll definitely check that out.

It touches on a fair number of related philosophical/theoretical issues [and more than touches several].
The author definitely has a "side" in the answers [he's addressed some of the same and similar issues in several books].
I think it IS the kind of book you might like...though I also think it shares some of the issues you have with SRD.
I wonder if you'll agree with his take? [given things you've said, I suspect you'll be yes and no on that...but lean more yes]

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

V, which problematic issues (from my alleged perspective) do you think Stephenson shares with SRD? I'd be interested to hear. The only real issue I had with SRD was about 1/2 to 2/3 the LC. I've loved everything else he has written. He is still my favorite writer.

Does Stephenson invent implausible reasons to keep characters in the dark merely for dramatic effect (e.g. the end of Fatal Revenant)? Does he have too much filler (e.g. 2nd half of AATE)? A climactic finale to a 10-book saga that disappoints?
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do–back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wayfriend wrote:
As long as you save Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle for the finale. You don't want to peak to early.


Haha, duly noted, thanks.

--A
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